Resuming sex within months of a heart attack linked to longer survival

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Published: December, 2020

Couples sometimes worry about restarting sexual activity after one partner has had a heart attack. But a new study has found that returning to usual levels of sexual activity within a few months of a heart attack is linked to improved survival.

The study, published online Sept. 23, 2020, by the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, included 495 sexually active people who were hospitalized for a first heart attack in 1992 or 1993. All of them were 65 or younger (the average age was 53) and 90% were men.

After a median follow-up of 22 years, 43% of the participants had died. People who maintained or increased the frequency of their sexual activity within the first six months after a heart attack had a 35% lower risk of death compared with people who abstained or reduced their sexual activity. The results may reflect other factors associated with improved health, such as better fitness and a good relationship with one's spouse, the study authors note. Still, the findings should help allay fears about resuming sex after recovering from a heart attack.

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